Thursday, June 19, 2003

10 of my LA favorites

Inspired by Armed Liberal, who in turn was inspired by Tedman.

I've only lived here 3 years, so I'm hardly an expert on L.A. dining, but listed in alphabetical order below are 10 of my favorites....

26 Beach Cafe - Breakfast - Venice
Although some praise their burgers and salads, I will not. I must however state, for the record, that they serve the most incredible French Toast I've ever eaten. There are many varieties available, but I favor the one with strawberry and cream cheese stuffing.

Abbot's Pizza - Pizza - Venice, Santa Monica
Tomato/Basil and BBQ Chicken are my favorites. The Venice location turns out more consistent pies and a more interesting experience , but Santa Monica has the better parking and fountain drinks. An excellent meal for the money, the taste/dollar ratio is in the same league as In N Out.

Carousel - Armenian, Hollywood and Glendale locations
Falafel, hummus, baba ganoush and a whole lot of stuff you may not have eaten before. Everything I've had here is excellent. Relatively simple dishes, but executed very, very well. Plan of attack - Go with friends, order too many items, share, waddle home.

El Cholo - Mexican, various locations
Yes, some people hate this place, but I think they're nuts. Anyone who has served so much food to so many people for so many years has clearly got a good thing going. My personal favorite here is the #1 combo, a cheese enchilada and beef taco, two staples that should always be this good, but often aren't.

El Tarasco - Mexican - various locations
Oh, the beefy, cheesy, greasy goodness. The Super Deluxe reminds me of the Tex Mex of my childhood - only better. As good as the Super Deluxe is, the El Tarasco burrito is even better. Marinated beef with onions and cilantro (among other things), and it's outstanding.

In N Out - Almost everywhere
Could be the best taste/dollar ratio available in the Southland. I don't go for any of that off the menu stuff, though I'm sure it's fine. They only sell a few items, but each one is excellent. Compare/contrast with Carl's Jr, many items of dubious quality.

Langer's Deli - Mac Arthur Park
The Best Pastrami Ever. Get the rye bread, which is exceptional. And don't forget the validated parking down the street.

Josie - Fine Dining - Santa Monica
I'm not really sure how to categorize this one besides excellent and expensive. Minor emphasis on game, creative (but not annoyingly so) menu. The only restaurant in this price range that I like enough to spend my own money on; so bring your wallet, or better yet, someone else's.

Pie and Burger - Burgers of course - Pasadena
The urBurger that all others aspire to. Simple, meaty, tasty. The pies are also excellent; this is always worth a trip to Pasadena. Better than Apple Pan in my opinion.

Versailles - Cuban - various locations
Yummy, Garlic, Chicken, Pork, Beans. I don't really think I need to say anything more about it, except for the fact it is the only place I've ever seen Mate soda. Did I mention the garlic?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Favorite Thing I Saw On A Blog Today

A bit of a movie review from Bruce Anderson's Journal (no permalinks, but dated 2003-06-06)

"Movie is muddled and confusing. If you have to read a long treatise on the meaning of the film after watching it to understand it, it's crap."

I know I've had that feeling before.

Monday, June 09, 2003

The World's Best Concession Stand Crabcakes

It was mid afternoon in Northern Virginia, at a little town fair. You've probably seen the type, plywood booths selling cotton candy, softserve ice cream and frozen -> microwaved corndogs. (These last are abominations, settle only for freshly dipped and fried dogs served with mustard. Yum) Also, little tent type booths selling "art" that seemed to be made primarily of coke cans and rusty wire, or wooden toys turned out by retired engineers. Upon arrival, I had two thoughts: first, there would have been approximately 254,876 more people if this was in Southern California; second, where is the "food" court?

When I saw that sign, I knew there was no way I could pass it up. I mean, come on, "The World's Best"? I wasn't exactly qualified to judge, as I'd never before eaten a Concession Stand Crab Cake, but I plunged ahead nevertheless. As I slowly moved to the front of the line I noted that the crab cakes didn't come from a box - good. Buns fried in butter like substance, pleasant aroma, no heat lamps - good, good, good. So I forked over my $5 and got, well, The World's Best Concession Stand Crabcake. Nice juicy lumps of crab meat crisply fried and pleasantly spiced. I've spent more on crabcakes that weren't as tasty many times.

I'm amazed and pleased when I come across a treasure like this. Now just one question remains. What is Old Bay seasoning, and why did I see it all over the region? As usual, I'll turn to Google for answers and post if I find anything interesting.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Southern Pride?

Went to the the Robert E. Lee Chapel and museum in Lexington, Va. last week. His horse, Traveler (who died of lockjaw) is buried outside. Patrons (mostly southerners) leaving the museum throw pennies on top of the horse's grave.

I don't know about you, but I'm fairly sure Lee would not have appreciated people tossing portraits of Lincoln on Traveler's grave.